January entry for weird tales contest - the story of a whispering lake
|[Word count: 998]
June 17, 1915.
Leia had heard the stories from her mother. Her words still echoed - "When in pain, go to the water at night. It has the answers." Her mother, Juana, lost her husband after a year of marriage. The villages deemed her "unlucky and ominous" as bad luck struck her husband after she came into his life. Juana’s only friend was Gwanita, who was in the hut next to hers. It has been said the wisdom and vile of Gwanita’s great grandmother's soul was in the lake and she would help in times of need.
"I...honestly...don't know what to call you...", Leia leaned over the trunk of the tree.
It was pitch dark - twenty-three year old Leia had always been a brave woman. She was wearing a light orange, knee length skirt, and a slate colored, high collared, blouse. She was leaning, looking at the lake, which felt as though it filled her two eyes with all the waters of the earth.. The time was two in the morning and the moon was full, brimming with light, casting shadows from the branches of the trees around. The reflection of the moon was in the water and Leia, not understanding how to start, threw a tiny rock into the reflection- causing the water to ripple in such a way as the face of an older man appeared in it, though too far away to notice.
She looked around - nostalgia seeped through. She remembered those moments that pushed her mother over the edge and finally made her make a decision to move to the city when she was two years old. She thought of the days when she would imagine hearing the whispers from the lake in her sleep.
The water on the lake slowly came to a standstill as the ripple started to end.
"Umm...you knew my mom, right?... I don't know, many people come here and tell you stories, so you might not remember who she is. Her name is...", her voice dipped, "...was Juana." she took a deep breath leaning deeper into the trunk. "She...", taking another deep breath, "...her...she wanted her remains..." she broke into tears putting her head over her lap.
"Leia." whispered a voice.
Leia pulled her head back, wiped her tears, looked around. The water was still. The only sound was the wind rustling the leaves.
"Leia." the voice again.
She stood up with the jar of ashes she had brought with her. While walking, she felt something moving behind, or at least she thought she did, but there was nothing except the trees.
She walked forward and left her shoes in the grass, dipping her feet into the water. The chilliness of the water felt weird considering it was summer. She took the jar and kissed it. She took a step back and started dumping the ashes - the ashes moving slightly in the air before hitting the water because of the wind, and an eyeball fell from it, causing something behind her to move again. This time she was sure - she took another step back and turned around. Nothing.
"Whaaaat doooooo yooooou waaant?" a tiny whisper floated behind her.
She turned around, nervous. The story and beliefs were cool, but reality was a lot different.
Gasping for breath, "Umm...I wanted to say...thank you...for everything you've done to my...mother."
"I gave what she asked. " the whisper continued.
As a child, she would imagine that the lake would form a mouth shape while talking. But she was wrong. It was still.
Something moved behind her again.
She turned around.
On the tree she had been leaning on there were two little openings. Were they there before? She questioned her sanity. She walked forward, nervously, and came in closer to the little openings - they were almost as if the tree had eyes, but it felt goofy like something in a child's coloring book. Her peripheral vision caught something that made her look aside - she started noticing the openings in multiple trees around her. She, noticeably, freaked out, standing in shock.
"Calm down." the voice again.
She broke into tears again, falling on the ground. "I wish...I was there...when it...happened. I wanted...one last...look."
She could hear the branches around her moving - she was too scared to look at them. At this point, in her head, she thought about these being the last minutes of her life. Her dream of becoming an architect would never be realized - and the life she imagined with Derek, the guy she went on one date with and realized he was the one - she could feel it all falling away.
She heard it but was too scared to look. She finally found some courage and looked up slightly with one tear filled eye. The visual of her mom's face made by the branches of the trees - it looked unrecognizable with the slightly clouded sky in the background. She couldn't understand what she was seeing.
She felt a movement inside the lake behind her.
She turned around to look at the reflection of her mom's face by the branches in the lake - in the clearest of waters, she felt her mom alive, for one last time.
"Than-thank you." Leia said, her voice breaking unable to believe what she was seeing.
"My pleasure. " the voice responded.
"How...how could I ever make it up..to you?"
"When you leave this world, tell someone you love to leave your remains and an organ with us. The leftovers of your kind keep me and the trees around you afloat."
Leia heard it but wasn't in the right mind to comprehend as she was still in the high of seeing her mother. "Okay.." she said, walking back and leaving the place.
The sun came up a few hours later and its rays hit the top of one of the trees. The light made some of the scratches on it visible.
“Juana Woenita. June 15, 1915.”
Under that, "Leia Woenita, June 17, 1936."